Growth Centers on Philadelphia's Downtown, But Poverty Persists Elsewhere

An opinion piece points out the inequities of growth in contemporary Philadelphia.

1 minute read

April 24, 2018, 12:00 PM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


mandritoiu / Shutterstock

An opinion article by Paul R. Levy, written for the Philadelphia Inquirer, calls attention to the dichotomy of growth in Philadelphia—it's a story that will sound familiar in many other cities around the country.

On one hand, "Philadelphia is enjoying its longest economic expansion of the last 50 years, adding 55,100 jobs since 2010, growing in all but one year since 2005." Record jobs have been added around the city, with jobs and investment centered around Center City, but with help from University City, the Navy Yard, and Temple's campuses, according to Levy.

On the other hand, Philadelphia has a 25.7 poverty rate, which places it among the highest rates for large cities in the United States. "The downtown story is about millennials and empty-nesters moving in, families having children," writes Levy. "But in many other neighborhoods, working and middle-class families still leave for the suburbs."

A Downtown-centric revival will sound familiar in Detroit and Cleveland, for instance, where rising job growth and development investment tides have not yet lifted all boats. As levy admits, it's also the story of Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities. In Philadelphia, writes Levy, "[the] story is not a tale of two cities; it’s a tale of one city not growing fast enough to address problems we’ve inherited, when we can count less on higher levels of government for help."

Friday, April 20, 2018 in The Philadelphia Inquirer

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